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Audio-Technica AT897 Microphone Review

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When it comes to recording sound on the go, film and video enthusiasts have a range of different options available for the job. Handheld, lapel, and even wireless microphones are all options, and depending on the job can be quite serviceable indeed. However, if you’re looking for quality sound for quality video, then you might want to aim a little higher with your equipment.

For audio quality that’s pristine and detailed, you’ll want to invest in a shotgun microphone. Shotgun microphones are an industry favorite thanks to their directionality, with noise exclusion that’s simply unmatched. This focused recording is especially important when recording outside, where conditions are less than ideal.

Shotgun mics are an essential part of any filmmaker’s arsenal, but unfortunately a good mic can cost a pretty penny. For indie filmmakers, digital journalists, and casual users who are simply looking for a better sound, investing hundreds of dollars into a mic might not be the most attractive option. Luckily, with their AT897 Audio-Technica has the perfect solution. Find out more in this Audio Technica AT897 review below.

About the Audio-Technica AT897 Microphone

 

Polar Pattern

Line + gradient

Frequency Response

20Hz – 20kHz

Impedance

200 ohms (phantom power) ; 300 ohms (battery)

Signal to Noise Ratio

77 dB, 1 kHz at 1 Pa

Maximum SPL

129 dB SPL (phantom power), 115 dB SPL (battery power)

Power Options

11-52V DC, 2 mA typical (phantom power) ; 1.5V AA/UM3 (battery)

 

When you’re an up and coming videographer, affordability is a huge consideration. After all, you’re already investing tons into your camera, and equally high quality audio equipment can come at a steep price. Luckily for filmmakers on a budget, the Audio Technica AT897 is here to prove that you don’t have to sacrifice great sound for affordability and portability.

Since its release over a decade ago, the AT 897 has been the go-to shotgun mic for thousands of videographers and filmmakers. The base model hasn’t changed much, and it’s easy to use and compact, making it ideal for recording on the go. While the Audio Technica 897 might not be the top shotgun mic in the industry, it’s a well-loved favorite for many reasons you’ll see below.

Audio-Technica AT897 Microphone Pros

The Audio Technica AT 897 is an 11-inch short shotgun microphone designed for field audio recording in film, TV, and video productions. Compact and lightweight, and can be conveniently mounted on a DV camcorder or camera without adding too much to the weight. Its highly focused polar pattern also allows it to capture both long- and short-distance sound sources without too much background interference. For filmmakers who are just starting out, it’s the ideal field partner.

Designed to Work

When recording for film and television work, the visuals matter almost as much as the audio. In addition to capturing rich, faithful sound with clarity, sound engineers also have to ensure that their mics are both portable and out of frame. The AT 897 mic is perfect for this with its short, 11-inch barrel and easy mountability. This microphone can be conveniently attached for out of sight, out of mind recording, and the phantom and battery power options allow for use no matter what the recording situation.

Just the Right Sound

When recording outside studio conditions, all sound engineers know that they’ll need to wrestle with unwanted background noise. The AT 897 shotgun mic makes this decision easy with its line + gradient polar pattern. Line + gradient polar patterns are an especial feature of Audio-Technica mics, and can be used to mic sound at great distances. This is especially useful for sound sources that are off-camera, as the intense directionality allows for better sound cancellation and focus.

Mic Your Needs

Despite its deceptively affordable price, the AT897 mic has all the quality and options that you’ll need in a microphone. It has a switchable 80Hz low cut filter with a 12dB octave slope that reduces the mic’s sensitivity to low frequency noise like traffic rumble, ventilation, and mechanical vibrations. For situations where phantom power may not be available, it’s also operational for up to 1200 hours on a single AA battery. On the downside, however, the AT897 on battery mode has no on/off switch and is immediately operational upon connection to the camera, which can be a little inconvenient.

Clean, Rich Sound

All of these specifications sound nice on paper, but how does the AT897 handle out in the field? The answer is just as advertised. While using the microphone in a handheld configuration may lead to some annoying handling noise, overall the sound is clear and precise. Outdoors, the audio sounds full and natural, with no unfortunate ambient or background noise. Still, users may want to invest in a quality windscreen or a fur-covered zeppelin in order to reduce chances of wind or background noise.

Crisp Vocals

Like most directional mics, when you’re not using the Audio-Technica AT897 outside, you’re sure to find a great use for it in the studio. With its incredible focus and clear sound, you have yourself a great vocal mic onhand. Of course, if your aim is to get the most out of the AT897, field recording is the way to go. But if you’re open to a range of uses, it does great for podcasting and radio broadcasting, and captures all the depth of the human voice with no extra fiddling needed.

What People Are Saying

When it comes to affordable, quality shotgun microphones, the Audio-Technica AT897 is among the best of the best. With a quality build and excellent engineering for the price, you can’t go wrong with this shotgun microphone purchase. Sure, there are other, better sounding microphones out there, but if you’re just starting out then the AT897 is more than fantastic.

Where to Buy the Audio-Technica AT897 Microphone

With a well defined, if slightly crispy sound, convenient power options, high directionality, and great portability, the Audio-Technica AT897 is a great companion for micing on the go. For beginners and filmmakers on a budget who just need one mic for their recording needs, the AT897 is more than enough to keep you satisfied. Find the best deals for the Audio-Technica AT897 Microphone here.

Sound Quality
8
Design
8
Features
8
Price
9

Summary

Affordable, compact, and highly focused, the Audio-Technica AT897 is a fantastic addition to any videographer's mic locker. It has a rich, clear sound, excellent background noise rejection, and a flexibility that makes it a great companion when micing on the go.

Total Rating

8.3
Ash Burnett

Hailing from Chicago, IL - Ash made his break into journalism at the age of 23 writing music reviews for a local website. Now in his late 30's and after being pulled closer towards the technical side of the music and live gig industry, he founded Shout4Music to write thorough microphone reviews.

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